Weekly Column 03.07.19

I know that the many animal lovers in Staffordshire Moorlands will join me in welcoming the Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s new bill, introduced in Parliament last week, to enable tougher prison sentences for the worst animal abusers.  

The new Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill means that animal abusers could face up to five years in prison – a significant increase from the current maximum sentence of six months.

A consultation last year found that 70 per cent of people supported the proposals for tougher prison sentences and this new Bill builds on recent positive action the Government has taken to protect animals, including plans to ban third party puppy and kitten sales, banning the use of wild animals in circuses and providing increased protection to service dogs and horses.

In 2018, the RSPCA received 1,175,193 calls to their 24-hour cruelty hotline with a call every 27 seconds. There have also been a number of cases in the last few years in which the courts said they would have given longer sentences had they been available.

There is no place in this country for animal cruelty, which is why we want to make sure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law.  

The introduction of this bill is really a landmark achievement, making it one of the toughest sanctions in Europe and strengthening the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare.

To celebrate it, I am asking local residents in Staffordshire Moorlands to email me cute pictures of your favourite pet - whether cat, dog, guinea pig or any other cherished friend. Please send your photos to karen.bradley.mp@parliament.uk with your pet’s name and your name and address in Staffordshire Moorlands as well as written permission to post on my website and facebook page.